First and foremost, I have to thank General Mills for inviting me to this event, providing travel and lodging accommodations and giving us bloggers a behind the scenes kind of event. We got to talk directly to the people who work on the Box Tops for Education program and what great insight to hear the thoughts about the program from them directly. It was especially interesting to me being the box tops coordinator for my school.
There was an idea wall where coordinators from around the country shared ideas on how to collect box tops and shared the projects that were funded by the money raised. The General Mills people said time and time again that even though they put together the program, the only reason why it is so successful is the passion of the school coordinators. After reading idea after idea, you really get the power behind it and the drive they bring.
Schools are funding classroom supplies, art supplies, field trips, playground equipment (this is what we used ours for last year), books and all kinds of projects. These are usually things that get cut when the budget drops. Here is one great idea that would really convince the teachers to push it. Can't go wrong putting it directly back into the classrooms!
Last year $59 million dollars was raised. That is a lot of supplemental income for schools! The thing that makes me really stand behind the program is that parents are not forced to buy all kinds of stuff they really don't want or need at outlandish prices (think wrapping paper and tubs of cookie dough). They just need to spend the extra 20 seconds to cut a box top out of a product they already buy before throwing the package in the trash.
We earned $1,594 last year with a school of just under 700 students. Yay for the parents, students and teachers that make the program happen!! One school consistently earns over $20,000 each year. Wow!! That is a ton of box tops!
As a coordinator, the thing I hear from parents most often is, "I don't buy any of THAT kind of food." And I agree, many of the products are highly processed convenience foods, BUT there are many non food items that you most likely do have in your house. Kleenex, Ziplock, Hefty, Avery, Boise paper, Britta, Cottonelle....come on, if you just looked through the ever growing list of participating products I bet you could find something. I also addressed this while talking with the General Mills folks and they hear this loud and clear and are constantly seeking out companies with nonfood products that fit with the program.
Some interesting facts on the box tops collected....
- Someone really does look at each and every box top submitted to check that they are valid.
- During the peek season (right before submission deadlines) they receive 5 semi trucks EACH DAY full of box tops.
- The redeemed box tops are incinerated, which turns into wind power and provides electricity for local homes in Minnesota.
This year Hanes became a partner as well. It is a program that runs a little differently than the normal clip and redeem. If you school orders Hanes t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc. from your local screen printing place, you send in the invoice and receive box tops vouchers that way. Most schools have school t-shirts made so this is a natural fit.
After the presentations there was a product expo where we got to meet with people from all of the companies that are a part of the program. My goodness, there was SO MUCH stuff given out. They also had a parting gift bag that is being sent to my home (most of the other bloggers flew in so would have no way of getting the ginormous bag home). I have bags and bags of things (that have box tops, of course, so I get a head start on my collections for next year).
And then there was this.....
The box tops money machine. This is a dream come true for school coordinators :) I grabbed 300 bonus box tops while in there. WooHoo. Can't beat that.
I am not surprised that the program is so successful and would not be surprised if it continues to grow exponentially. It is well run, well received, and most importantly, puts money right where we need it, in our schools.
So what do you think? Are you ready to make a difference? Ask me if you need help getting started. I would be happy to help!
(and if you have box tops and nowhere to take them I would be happy to take them off your hands :)